As Jeanie and I chatted in the morning, she admitted a feeling of regret over sharing that she has been correcting her blood glucose levels through the night with skittles or a few quick cookies. After all, we are doing this blog as an example of how people with diabetes can travel and still eat healthy and be in control, right?
Right. This blog is an example. But just as much as it is an example of how things can go well, it is also an example of how things may not go perfectly, and that is still ok. Diabetes is hard enough to manage without an overriding sense of guilt. Jeanie can make it look easy, but through traveling with her over the last few weeks I can tell that easy and diabetes don’t usually go together. Diabetes is a constant; right when you begin to relax and soak more fully into a conversation, a meal, or a beautiful view, diabetes will tag in asking for a blood glucose reading, a bolus insulin calculation, or simply beeping at you to say you are either too high or too low.
Jeanie wants to encourage people, and any of her friends will tell you that she is an incredible inspiration. But just as much as she encourages us by believing anything is possible, even a trek spanning the country of Spain, she also encourages us through her honesty, through her vulnerability, and through her willingness to admit that yes, even cross country hikers sometimes resort to skittles to maintain their levels throughout the night. She would love to tell you she uses only natural foods, or further yet that she doesn’t even wake in the night because her levels are so stable. But let’s be honest, that is not the day to day of diabetes. What works one day might not work the next. And the unpredictability of diabetes is simply one more reason why it is so crucial that we are patient with ourselves and encourage one another, opposed to comparing ourselves with the exceptionally in control superperson who is perpetually just out of reach. Maybe a bit of honesty and understanding is really what we are looking for. So thank you Jeanie. Thank you for being willing to share the ups and downs of this journey.